Awards Criteria

Awards Criteria

National Model United Nations (NMUN) advances understanding of the UN and contemporary international issues and has positively impacted the lives of numerous delegates. We urge all delegates and their faculty advisors to maintain an appropriate perspective regarding the awards. No one can observe every action in committee or truly judge an individual’s learning and growth. The fundamental basis of the simulation is collaboration and cooperation among nations, which includes working together through multilateral diplomacy. There are no winners and certainly no losers in this process. We believe participation in the simulation is its own reward. The Secretariat selects recipients based on the criteria and methodology outlined in this section.

Delegation Awards

NMUN has established criteria for evaluating delegate performance.  Each element is equally important to the overall awards determination process. All committees are weighted equally, and delegations are rated using a mathematical formula that accounts for the total number of committees in which each Member State is represented.

Following the conclusion of sessions, NMUN volunteer staff members recommend 10% of the delegations in their respective committees for awards, based on performance throughout the course of each session. Each staff member has received training in evaluating delegate performance using these standards, and all staff decisions related to awards determinations are final. A delegation’s overall score is the number of times it receives recognition for a session divided by the number of opportunities for recognition. If a delegation’s actions are overly competitive or grossly disruptive to the committee, the staff may assess a negative recognition point counting against the awards tally.

Example: At NMUN•NY there are eight sessions. A country on five committees has forty possible opportunities for recognition in the top ten percent of delegations in that session. If that country is noted for outstanding performance in ten various committee sessions during the week, e.g., GA Plenary on Tuesday, GA Fourth on Tuesday and Wednesday, etc., that member state would score 10/40 = .25 or 25%. Just as a faculty member might assign letter grades based on natural clusters of scores, NMUN awards recognize Outstanding, Distinguished and Honorable Mention delegations. It is the overall delegation performance across all committees that is recognized by this system – not the outstanding performance in any one committee. Just as with grades on quizzes in a class, it is possible to have one poor score and still do well if all the other scores are good, but it is unlikely one outstanding grade can significantly raise the overall average. Any negative points for gross disruption of committee will be assessed prior to tabulation.

Areas of evaluation are:
  1. Remaining in character: defined as advocating your assigned country’s position in a manner consistent with economic, social, and geopolitical constraints. Although being in character involves the accurate presentation of your country’s diplomatic style, delegates should not model inappropriate stereotypes or character traits. Any undiplomatic behavior is inherently out of character for United Nations delegates. Delegates are to emulate the work of diplomats, not the sometimes more theatrical presentations of Heads of State/Government to the General Assembly (and media) during the general debate each fall; speeches by Heads of State/Government are political in nature and sometimes aimed as much at domestic audiences as at their UN counterparts. In addition, delegates must remember that any observation, comment or complaint regarding another delegate’s portrayal of his/her national or organizational character is highly inappropriate, and such comments are themselves inherently out of character for a diplomat. Yelling, standing on chairs and other examples of unprofessional behavior are not characteristics of model diplomats. Remaining in character includes consistent and accurate diplomacy and caucusing in a manner consistent with the country’s position and power, i.e., behind-the-scenes negotiator vs. in-the-forefront debater. Well-prepared delegates are typically committee leaders, whether or not such leadership is consistent with relevant foreign policy. Delegates will not be punished for natural leadership tendencies; however, delegates must recognize that there are limits to what is acceptable in this situation.
  2. Participating in committee: evaluated during both formal sessions and caucusing. NMUN recognizes that a country’s position on any issue may require opposition to the majority, as opposed to active consensus-building. The conference staff expects delegates to support committee action and address issues in accordance with relevant national or organizational policies, whatever those may be. No priority is given to active participation in formal session over caucus activities. Delegates who provide leadership through assistance to the committee are provided special consideration. Chairs and Rapporteurs are provided equal consideration for awards, depending on their contributions as committee officials. Individual effort as well as ability is considered, particularly for delegates who use English as a second language. Caucusing should be in English as the common language of the conference.
  3. Proper use of the rules of procedure: NMUN uses the rules of procedure to facilitate the effective workings of the committee and debate. Consideration will be given to delegates’ knowledge and proper use of NMUN rules, which differ from rules at other MUN conferences, and delegates’ use of rules to further the work of the committee, not to impede it. Staff is patient with new delegates who may not be completely familiar with the NMUN Rules of Procedure, particularly in the early sessions of the conference and during voting procedure. Delegates will not be permitted to interrupt the committee’s progress through the introduction of disruptive or inappropriate motions. Delegates with questions or concerns relating to the NMUN Rules of Procedure will be advised to informally approach the dais for explanation.

Delegate Awards in Committee

NMUN offers between two and five awards per committee, selected by popular vote of committee delegates (number based on size of committee). When voting for their peers, NMUN asks delegates to keep in mind that the conference believes outstanding delegates are those who cooperate and stay in the policy/character of their assigned member state. Yelling, standing on chairs and other examples of unprofessional behavior are not characteristics of model diplomats. Recipients will be announced at the final committee session.

Awards Methodology

Each session will be evaluated separately. An awards sheet recognizing delegations will be submitted to the departmental USG and eventually to the NMUN Deputy Secretary-General. On each of the awards sheets, the Director and AD will list 10% of the total committee attendance or three delegations, (whichever number is greater) for awards recognition. For example, the number of delegates compromising 10% of the General Assembly is 19.

Members of the NMUN Board are responsible for all score calculations. The number of votes for each delegation is totaled and divided by the product of the number of committees in which that delegation is represented times the number of sessions (e.g. 5 committees * 8 sessions = 40 opportunities to be recognized as a top delegation in a session). While the total number of delegations that receive awards changes slightly from year to year, it is approximately 20%. That 20% is distributed between three categories of awards: Honorable Mention, Distinguished Delegation, and Outstanding Delegation.

Hypothetical Example:

Australia – 31 votes / (8 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 49% = Outstanding Delegation

Cameroon – 20 votes / (5 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 50% = Outstanding Delegation

Chile – 19 votes / (8 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 30% = Distinguished Delegation

Japan – 31 votes / (10 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 39% = Distinguished Delegation

Switzerland – 2 votes / (3 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 8%

United States – 20 votes / (10 committees * 8 sessions) = total score of 25% = Honorable Mention

The total awards scores are listed, without school or country names, by the NMUN Executive Director. From that list the cutoff for each award category is determined. School names are then matched with their scores. Certificates are printed and then distributed during closing ceremonies.

Position Paper Awards

Position papers are a critical part of delegate preparation. They require delegates to illustrate their knowledge of the agenda topics at hand, affirm the positions their country takes on these topics, and recommend courses of action to effectively address contemporary global problems. For the Conference Staff, position papers provide the best indication of which issues capture delegates’ interest, and help Directors and Assistant Directors design a strategy for the facilitation of committee debate. In addition, position papers often identify which delegates are best prepared for the Conference and are most likely to take a strong leadership role in committee sessions.

Additionally, the NMUN Board of Directors will grant separate Position Paper Awards in recognition of outstanding pre-conference preparation. In order to be considered for a Position Paper Award, delegations must have met the published email/postmark deadline.

The following criteria are used by the conference staff to evaluate Position Papers:

  • Overall quality of writing, proper style, grammar, etc.
  • Reference to relevant resolutions/documents
  • General consistency with bloc/geopolitical constraints
  • Consistency with the constraints of the United Nations
  • Analysis of issues, rather than reiteration of the Committee Background Guide